A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees

(Abridged)

Faith assures us that in a mysterious way the Kingdom of God is already present here on earth (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 39). Yet in our own time, we are saddened to see the obstacles and opposition it encounters. Violent conflicts and all-out wars continue to tear humanity apart; injustices and discrimination follow one upon the other; economic and social imbalances on a local or global scale prove difficult to overcome. And, above all, it is the poorest of the poor and the most disadvantaged who pay the price. ... migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking ... are often looked down upon and considered the source of all society’s ills. ... the presence of migrants and refugees – and of vulnerable people in general – is an invitation to recover some of those essential dimensions of our Christian existence and our humanity that risk being overlooked in a prosperous society. That is why it is not just about migrants. When we show concern for them, we also show concern for ourselves, for everyone; in taking care of them, we all grow ...

About our fears

It is not just about migrants: it is also about our fears. The signs of meanness we see around us heighten our fear of the other, the unknown, the marginalised, the foreigner. We see this today in particular, faced with the arrival of migrants and refugees knocking on our door in search of protection, security and a better future. The problem is not that we have doubts and fears. The problem is when they condition our way of thinking and acting to the point of making us intolerant. Fear deprives us of the desire and the ability to encounter the other, the person different from myself; it deprives me of an opportunity to encounter the Lord …

About charity

It is not just about migrants: it is about charity. Through works of charity, we demonstrate our faith (cf. James 2:18). And the highest form of charity is that shown to those unable to reciprocate and perhaps even to thank us in return.

It is not just about migrants: it is a question of seeing that no one is excluded. Developing countries continue to be drained of their best natural and human resources for the benefit of a few privileged markets. Wars only affect some regions of the world, yet weapons of war are produced and sold in other regions which are then unwilling to take in the refugees produced by these conflicts. Those who pay the price are always the little ones, the poor, the most vulnerable ... left with the ‘crumbs’ of the banquet (cf. Luke 16:19-21).

Pope Francis meets refugees at the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece, in this April 16, 2016. 

About putting the last first

It is not just about migrants: it is about putting the last in first place. Jesus Christ asks us not to yield to the logic of the world, which justifies injustice to others for my own gain or that of my group. “Me first, and then the others!” Instead, the true motto of the Christian is, “The last shall be first!”

About building the city of God

It is not just about migrants: it is about building the city of God and of humanity. “We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved. They are an occasion that Providence gives us to help build a more just society ...” (Message for the 2014 World Day of Migrants and Refugees).

Our response to the challenges posed by contemporary migration can be summed up in four verbs: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. If we put those four verbs into practice, we will help build the city of God and humanity. We will promote the integral human development of all people.

It is not only the cause of migrants that is at stake; it is not just about them, but about all of us, and about the present and future of the human family. .... Through migrants, the Lord invites us to embrace fully our Christian life and to contribute, each according to his or her proper vocation, to the building up of a world that is more and more in accord with God’s plan.

In expressing this prayerful hope, and through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Way, I invoke God’s abundant blessings on all the world’s migrants and refugees and upon all those who accompany them on their journey.   


Tagged as: , ,

Leave a Response